Metascore
83

Universal acclaim - based on 12 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 12
  2. Negative: 0 out of 12
  1. This album is so near-flawless it would be easy to go on and on about how you need to hear it as soon as possible.
  2. On Us, his deeply humane new album, that mad-prophet intensity can be exhausting, exhilarating, and downright transcendent.
  3. Us is uplifting, thought-provoking, funny, heartbreaking, and bootyshaking.
  4. The same goes for nearly every cut in this hip-hop opera, a rare work of rap that simultaneously inspires self-confidence and aggravation with the broken world around us.
  5. What gives Brother Ali's slice-of-life ruminations their impressive heft is the rapper's eye for everyday detail and the handmade appeal of his vintage-funk arrangements.
  6. The smart tracks build up the complexity of Ali's persona, while the dumb ones diminish it. The juxtaposition of these two different modes creates a fuller exposition than what you'll find on most hip-hop albums.
  7. 80
    Happiness hasn’t blunted his keen social insight, though, as he empathizes with latchkey teens (“Tight Rope”), reflects on friends trapped in the street life (“Slippin’ Away”), and rues slavery’s consequences (“The Travelers”).
  8. There aren’t any questions about the quality of Us, an album filled with exceptional music; it’s a downright excellent release.
  9. It's an album that draws its strengths from the simultaneous expression of sympathy toward the people in the songs and anger toward the shit they've gone through.
  10. The songs on Us are long--most track in past four minutes--and the album can start to drag during some of the later verses, but as a statement on the health of hip-hop, it's an assured yes that all is well.
  11. Us sounds great, with Ali's sensitive, stentorian voice plowing through sleek jazz and blues loops from producer Ant. But the album ends up blandly heavy, weighed down with dark street dramas and lessons about how "the same color blood just pass through our veins."
  12. As it stands, Us lies at a precarious crossroads of self-help preaching and black history compendium, succeeding at neither and exposing a serious disconnect between lyricist and producer.
User Score
8.9

Universal acclaim- based on 21 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 8
  2. Negative: 0 out of 8
  1. ArthurS
    Dec 7, 2009
    10
    Amazing album. Ali makes lyrics that you really can relate to.
  2. AnthonyM
    Nov 10, 2009
    10
    This is hot. In all seriousness, I don't think there's a better rapper out there. There may be a couple who are just as good, but This is hot. In all seriousness, I don't think there's a better rapper out there. There may be a couple who are just as good, but no one is better. Full Review »
  3. DaleW
    Oct 30, 2009
    8
    The vibe on "Us" tends to be slower and more mellow than previous releases, but this is the album Brother Ali needed to make: more mature, The vibe on "Us" tends to be slower and more mellow than previous releases, but this is the album Brother Ali needed to make: more mature, with less autobiographical songwriting. Half of the tracks are about himself, the other half are true, heart-wrenching stories from other's difficult lives. Great, intelligent songwriting and more excellent beats from Ant. I initially like each new Brother Ali LP less than the previous, but they grow on me and soon become my favorite. I'm sure it'll be the same with "Us". Full Review »